Author Archives: Kelvin Ke Jinde

Philosophy according to Bertrand Russell

The late English philosopher Bertrand Russell describes philosophy as such: –

“Mankind, ever since there have been civilized communities have been confronted with problems of two different kinds. On the one hand, there has been the problem of mastering natural forces, of acquiring the knowledge and the skill required to produce tools and weapons and to encourage Nature in the production of useful animals and plants. This problem, in the modern world, is dealt with by science and scientific technique, and experience has shown that in order to deal with it adequately it is necessary to train a large number of rather narrow specialists.

He continues: –

But there is a second problem, less precise, and by some mistakenly regarded as unimportant – I mean the problem of how best to utilize our command over the forces of nature. This includes such burning issues as democracy versus dictatorship, capitalism versus socialism, international government versus international anarchy, free speculation versus authoritarian dogma. On such issues the laboratory can give no decisive guidance.

The kind of knowledge that gives most help in solving such problems is a wide survey of human life, in the past as well as in the present, and an appreciation of the sources of misery or contentment as they appear in history. It will be found that increase of skill has not, of itself, insured any increase of human happiness or wellbeing.

Philosophy for Laymen  (1946)

Philosophical knowledge, if what has been said above is true, does not differ essentially from scientific knowledge; there is no special source of wisdom which is open to philosophy but not to science, and the results obtained by philosophy are not radically different from those obtained from science.

….The essential characteristic of philosophy, which makes it a study distinct from science, is criticism.”…

 (emphasis mine)

The above describes both the focus (the forces of nature) and method (criticism) that one should adopt in thinking and practicing philosophy. Indeed one should engage in  philosophical “uncertainty” – in the sense that this “uncertainty” is determined by a sense of childlike curiosity and a fundamental breaking apart of ideas, behaviors and assumptions of everyday life in Singapore.

Philosophy is to be studied, not for the sake of any definite answers to its questions, since no definite answers can, as a rule, be known to be true, but rather for the sake of the questions themselves; because these questions enlarge our conception of what is possible, enrich our intellectual imagination and diminish the dogmatic assurance which closes the mind against speculation; but above all because, through the greatness of the universe which philosophy contemplates, the mind also is rendered great, and becomes capable of that union with the universe which constitutes its highest good.

Philosophy according to Giles Deleuze

What can philosophy do?

Deleuze argued that philosophy (thinking, understanding, interpreting, and arguing) can open life up to diverse modes of thinking and not just leaning towards common sense tendencies and agreed ways of thinking (Colebrook, 2002, pg11).

We do philosophy then, not to conform or correct some dogma of common sense, we do it to expand thought to its infinite potential (ibid, pg15). There is a universal power of philosophy. It is not a power for generalization or looking at some common features that all beings share. But thinking universally to think about how any being might be possible (ibid). Thinking, in Philosophy, Art and Science, gives power to the thinker to maximise the power of human consciousness (ibid, pg 106).

  1. Philosophy is the universalising power to create concepts. to think about the immanence of becoming
  2. Art has the power to create concepts of percepts and affects
  3. Science takes the flow of life and fixes it into observable ‘state of affairs’ that can be ordered by functions
  4. Literature or literary text contains scientific powers of observations AND philsophical powers of conceptuality

Why is Philosophy, thinking or thought, important?
If we accept thought as homogeneous, we fall into unquestioning opinion, reducing all science or philosophy to fact-finding (representing what exist) *Instead of what it could be*THe transformative or disruptive potential of using thinking.* Art, like Philosophy and Science, has the power to transform life.

What is Art?
Art, like Literature, is the power about the imagination of a possible world. “Art is not representation, concepts or judgments; art is the power to think in terms that are not so much cognitive and intellectual as AFFECTIVE” (Colebrook, 2002, pg12).

How to read a work as Art or as Philosophy?
He suggested looking at a work at what it DO instead of what a work IS, and understanding its SPECIFIC FORCE, or its capacity for rupturing life.

The Awesomeness of The Untouchables (1987)

Now this is one awesome scene. Yes, I know that a lot of critics, fans, and scholars have mentioned that this scene is a homage to Sergei Eisenstein’s Battleship Potemkin.

Well, firstly by constantly linking back to B.P, it does a great disservice to that film. Secondly, it does a great disservice to this film.

Brian De Palma really showed his mastery of choreography, camera, editing, and cinematic suspense but most of all; his emphasis of foley sounds and music.


The Future of Jobs will only be menial work and high technological work

Interesting read.

The common factor behind these incidences is that over the past 40 years, the computer and internet economy that replaced mental labor by humans, particularly digital technology, multi-dimensional digital terminals and internet sharing technologies, have caused the US economy and, in fact, the economic structures of many countries in the world to transform.

from this article

Costs of Globalization and Trade





There is so much to fear and not to fear at the same time in the new digital age.

With so much talk regarding how the world is entering into the 4th Industrial Revolution, Disruptive Technologies, AI, Automation, and the Digital Economy; it got me thinking how I have benefited from these technologies but at the same time; how it will affect me in a negative way.

Granted, as someone who regularly shops and surfs for the latest things online; the new digital age has been amazing.  But while it has been fantastic for the consumer; I was thinking about how sucky it must be for the worker whose job was replaced by technology.

Let me give you an example:

I loved buying DVDs.  In fact, I used to go to DVD shops. But at the same time, I hate going to the DVD shop Why? That is because I hate having to communicate with the store owner or the sales rep.  I hate having to answer the question; “Can I help you to find what you are looking for?”

I love to browse and take my time browsing through the titles and looking at the DVD covers and reading the blurbs. I like the idea of just being lost in the moment of browsing.  But at the same time, I will get tired after a while.

I used to shop at this particular DVD shop where I found out that they usually stock old movies. It was one of my favorite places to go; but at the same time, it wasn’t. That is because while the owner had a lot of old movies, he would usually get grumpy or irritated if I took too long to browse through his goods.

But my life changed when I knew about Amazon – way back in 2000.  I made my first purchase; a DVD boxset of “The Godfather Trilogy”.  It was amazing.

It was amazing because all I needed was a credit card; one click; shipping address; and boom….it was delivered to my house.

So, like many others, I started to buy not only DVDs but books and other stuff online….well..mostly from Amazon.

Later, I found out that the shop had closed down.  To be honest, I did not really mourn for it. In fact, I just went on to shop online without a care in the world.

But over the years I realized that almost everyone began to ignore the typical brick and mortar shops and began shopping online. Now, I am no Luddite.  In fact, I am a child of the internet. Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram….etc etc

But recently, I began to notice more and more news about Digital Disruption, Disruptive Technologies., AI….. yada yada….

And then it occurred to me……

We are indeed living in an era where technological advances have really changed the way all of us communicate, share, receive, and shop.

But to the point; it also occurred to me that with these technologies; a lot of things are made easier and more convenient.  Yet, it also meant that a lot of jobs will either be high tech skills jobs or low menial work.

We hear stories of university or college students working in cafes, or older workers retrenched and are unable to get back into the workforce.

And not to mention; in a globalized world;  transnational corporations can choose where is the cheapest and cost-efficient countries to base their operations; which means that jobs go to workers who can afford lower wages and benefits.

Now, I am not going to play the blame game of “globalization is bad” or “corporations are evil”. Rather it is just simple logic. Any businessman wants to maximize their profits. And globalization has benefited a large segment of society regardless of nationalities and countries.

So what I am saying is that; we cannot change or undo technological inventions, we can’t say that we need to keep what are basically obsolete and unproductive jobs in the face of newer technologies (like the DVD shop); or that we must undo globalization; or even fear the onset of technological advances.

Because it is precisely of the Internet that we can get online shopping; or for that matter that someone invented digital photography that we can take crappy photos on our phone (which incidentally killed Kodak); or that globalization sucks cos that would mean living in a closed world with firm borders and narrow self-interests instead of you and me being able to communicate through WordPress and sharing our ideas and thoughts.

I guess what I am really trying to say is that there is fear; fear of change; fear of having to upgrade my skills; fear of someone from another country taking my job; fear in general.

But at the same time,  I fear not having the Internet, not being able to Travel; or able to see what new inventions can better my life; or not.

I fear to live in a world that goes back to the dark ages of no wireless connections and digital photographs.  But most of all, I fear not being able to buy movies with one click at Amazon.


Costs of Globalization and Trade

Economists on the Run

As Stiglitz put it to Foreign Policy: “Obviously, the costs [of globalization] would be borne by particular communities, particular places—and manufacturing had located [to] places where wages were low, suggesting that these were places where adjustment costs were likely large.” And it’s increasingly clear the detrimental effects may not be merely short-term trends. The swift opening up of trade with developing countries, combined with investment agreements, has “dramatically changed workers’ bargaining power (an effect reinforced by weakening unions and other changes in labor legislation and regulation).”